Hunting buys 27% of Cumberland Additive to access new oil and gas 3D printing opportunities

Energy services provider Hunting PLC has announced the purchase of more than a quarter of 3D printing bureau Cumberland Additive Holdings’ (CAH’s) shares. 

Once completed, the transaction will see Hunting acquire 27% of Cumberland Additive for $5 million, in addition to installing a member of its leadership on the firm’s board of directors. Hunting’s move also marks its first into 3D printing, and the company not only sees the technology as applicable within its existing oil and gas markets, but as a way of entering the lucrative aerospace and defense sectors. 

“Hunting’s investment in CAH is a key part of our strategy to access new manufacturing technologies which are being adopted by our current customers,” explains Jim Johnson, Chief Executive of Hunting. “It also provides new market and customer opportunities in sectors complementary to our core competencies of precision engineering and strongly quality assured products and procedures.”

“The investment by Hunting will assist CAH in achieving its growth ambitions, while providing new customer opportunities through their global operating footprint.”

Total's Elgin-Franklin oil rig in the North Sea. Photo via Total.
Hunting’s investment in Cumberland Additive could now allow it to expand its offering to its core oil and gas customers. Photo via Total.

Hunting buys into 3D printing 

Based in London, Hunting manufactures the high-end downhole metal tooling and parts needed to extract hydrocarbons during oil well construction, completion and intervention jobs. Typically, the company markets these components to those clients which develop and produce oil and gas resources, as well as their suppliers, and it views its ability to create “high-tolerance products” as its offering’s ‘USP.’

At present, Hunting operates 31 sites in 11 countries, with its offices based in or near the world’s main oil and gas producing regions. Given that so much of the firm’s business is reliant on demand from within an energy sector that’s increasingly adopting 3D printing technologies, it’s now therefore seeking to reinforce its manufacturing capabilities, as a means of improving its offering to core customers. 

Buying into Cumberland Additive should also provide Hunting with the ability to address entirely new markets, thanks to the extensive suite of 3D printers it now stands to inherit access to. Based in Pflugerville, Texas, Cumberland Additive’s headquarters currently houses 16 EOS, SLM Solutions and GE Additive Arcam 3D printers, in addition to CNC machining and metal finishing equipment. 

A Cumberland Additive engineer finishing an SLS 3D printed part.
Cumberland Additive’s HQ is known to house significant 3D printing capabilities. Photo via Cumberland Additive.

Elsewhere, the company is now in the process of establishing a second base in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with the aim of improving supply chain efficiency for its clientele, which thanks to is broad offering of series production, finishing, coating and mechanical testing services, now includes firms operating in the aerospace, defense, energy and industrial sectors. 

As a result, once Hunting has finalized its acquisition of Cumberland Additive’s shares, it also stands to gain access to these markets, which it describes as being “complementary to its current customer profile.” Although a date hasn’t been announced for the deal’s completion, it’s thought to be in its closing stages, with both parties having agreed terms on customary minority rights and obligations. 

“The group [Hunting] was attracted by CAH’s materials and process engineering know-how and expertise, which we believe will complement our existing engineering and manufacturing leadership in our chosen sectors of focus,” concluded Johnson. “We look forward to building a strong collaboration with our existing businesses in the coming years.”

A set of 3D printed parts ordered by Cumberland Additive customers.
A selection of 3D printed parts ordered by Cumberland Additive customers. Photo via Cumberland Additive.

A surge in oil & gas interest

Over the last eighteen months, 3D printing has been deployed within several oil and gas-related trials, which have been focused on assessing its potential for related production and repair applications. Earlier this year, optical system manufacturer Carl Zeiss, revealed that it was developing PBF and DED 3D printing parameters for the Brazilian oil and gas sector. 

Similarly, certification firm DNV GL recently released a new 3D printing service specification document, which is designed to support 3D printing in the oil and gas industry. By defining its qualification scheme, and detailing how to obtain and retain 3D printing-related certificates, the firm aims to help the industry adopt the technology more safely and efficiently. 

In March 2020, the company also wrapped up two ‘Joint Innovation Projects,’ through which it hoped to establish guidelines for the production and qualification of marine, oil and gas 3D printed parts. Designed specifically to develop a related guide and economic model for PBF and WAAM manufacturing, the programs included the participation of BP, Shell, Total, Siemens, Additive Industries and more. 

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Featured image shows Total’s Elgin-Franklin oil rig in the North Sea. Photo via Total.